Work Readiness for Students with Autism  Spectrum, Developmental Disabilities, and ‘At Risk’: A Professional Resource Checklist

Work Readiness for Students with Autism  Spectrum, Developmental Disabilities, and ‘At Risk’: A Professional Resource Checklist

Check each one that applies.

1. My student/clients can often see good job/career possibilities for themselves. ___________

2. My student/clients generally rely upon people (natural) supports in the workplace in order to adjust or adapt to their job.  ___________

3. My student/clients generally have challenging behaviors which makes it difficult to identify an appropriate job match.___________

4. Most of my student/clients need structure in order to perform on their job. ___________

5. My student/clients often show a lack of motivation or inspiration to do what it takes to get hired or to keep their job. ___________

6. My student/clients often lack effective ways to speak up for themselves. ___________

7. Most of my student/clients can name 3-5 interests or strengths they see in themselves. ___________

8. I see my student/clients abilities and strengths, but these aren’t an easy match to jobs/careers they can do. ___________

9. Most of my student/clients have a desire to get a job or to go to college. ___________

10. My student/clients have shown anxiety and/or have melt downs in one or more of the following: a. learning a new task, b. working around unfamiliar people, c. in new settings, d. or when changes suddenly occur on the job site. ___________

11. My student/clients usually know the kind of job they want and can do. ___________

12. Many of my student/clients place high demands of ‘independence’ or ‘do it myself’ attitudes in which they have a difficult time measuring up to. ___________

13. Though my student/clients exhibit challenges, they rely on people around them to believe in their abilities and strengths. ___________

If you checked 2 or more of  these numbers 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12  – your students could benefit from S.A.F.E.T.Y. WORKS (c)

I would love to share several tools with you to use with students in your Career Readiness Programs. These tools with curriculum can provide increased insight and clarity in preparing your student/client for Career Readiness/College, Job Development, and Job Maintenance. 


Here is a Free Gift  I want to offer your student/client with Autism Spectrum. Students:

Fun Free Quiz–How well do you know the value of your strengths?

Thank you for reading my blog.


End Note:

I believe I have  something unique to bring to the Career and College Readiness table for youth with Autism Spectrum and Developmental Disabilities. This blog represents a strengths model to support personal preferences and emotional needs, known as SAFETY Works©.

In my research, I listened to the voices of hundreds individuals with autism and their advocate/parents about how they found meaning and how they wanted to live their lives. Over three decades of study and experience, I used the data to create these tools to help people facilitate getting the right job, pursue college, and/or to live interdependently. With personal experience, I have a an adult son with autism who has become an accomplished artist.  He taught me how to support his self-determination, self-advocacy and adaptation. We personally experienced many trials and errors with set backs and progress. I want to pass these tools to people with autism and their advocates to create and live their adult lives their unique way.

Please offer your comments, because I want to hear them. I spend a lot of time writing. If you like my blog and think it can help other people, please share it.

Again thank you for reading blog.


Don’t Miss Out: Seven Necessary Aims to Effective Employment for Youth and Adults with Autism

In preparing autistic youth through school transition, they need practice, exposure, and experiences. Many need guidance to:

a) discover how their personal interests may match certain jobs or career,

b) practice independent living skills at home and in the community,

c) numerous ways to recognize their strengths and how their strengths match jobs or careers and,

d)  have exposure to work settings that match their strengths and interests. While each one of these are important, together they make up the necessary parts of career readiness curriculum. Unfortunately, schools rarely include these as part of student career readiness.

What are we dealing with today? Harsh realities stare at us revealing many are left unprepared for post high school transition or a job and are left sitting at home. Only 19.3 percent of people with disabilities participate in the labor force.

Yet in a survey people with disabilities said they want to work.

When these young adults are left without work opportunities they  they experience a low quality of life. When these young adults have a  low quality of daily life they experience a  low sense of well-being. This can be devastating because when the individual internalizes these low emotions, low self worth deepens. I call this “focused imperfection overload.”  These are unnecessary outcomes and reflective of a collective failed system. Post high school transition can be chaotic with abrupt changes that are difficult for a student to manage.

Yet there is ray of light. I discovered from the data that emerged from my own research along with a life time journey with my autistic son there are seven aspects that can open up possibilities and lead to opportunities for the young adult. With exposure to strengths and interests it is a must to include: self-awareness, self-expression, collaboration, self-advocacy, self-empowerment, adaptation, and self-satisfaction. These aspects are often missing from student school transition planning and services. But when these aspects become part of a focused curriculum in career readiness, the preparation can transfer the student into increased ease and adaptation to employment or higher daily living. The 7 aspects explained:

1. Self-awareness – When students feel safe and have access to support tools their predictability is enhanced. Thus, they are more likely to learn how to tune into their physical needs and emotions. Feeling safe with predictability can have significant impact on their continued interest and willingness to learn and participate on tasks and interests.

2. Self-expression – The student can be guided to understand true-self feelings, thoughts or ideas. With encouragement to communicate, students exhibit their own style verbally, writing, art, music, or dance.

3. Collaboration – Students benefit in working with others in shared interests or a goal.

4. Self-advocacy – When students are guided in developing self awareness and speaking up for themselves, they are participating on their own well-being.

5. Self-empowerment – Students can be guided to understand their strengths and challenges. It is about finding their own voice to set goals and to make choices.

6. Adaptation – When students are supported to make choices and take action to handle change, growth is more likely to occur.

7. Self-satisfaction – This one is given very little attention. Students are supported and guided to experience contentment, taking pleasure in learning participating in work tasks, or creating art. The purpose here is to find experiences rewarding.

In conclusion, students are more prepared for the workplace when these seven aspects are supported early during school transition  employment development or college services. These aspects matter as much as having specific interest or skills for employment. Most importantly, autistic people have incredible talents, strengths, and abilities. “Strengths are anchors to career success and one’s contributions to the world. Strengths are opened windows to creating life satisfaction.”  Power Practices

To find out more: link

contact Dr. Jackie Marquette
Image came from Pixabay


Emotional Supports for ASD during Loss


Emotional Supports for ASD during Loss

When individuals with ASD face events of loss, emotional supports are necessary to assist their adaptation.

Katie was a golden retriever, Trent’s sweet companion dog and friend for 15 years. She left us on December 14, 2016. She became my autistic son’s pet and a member of our family when she was just an eight-week old puppy.

Sadly, for the past several years, Katie developed arthritis that caused her much pain to stand from a sitting position. This impacted her ability to enjoy walks in the park. Within the past six months she suffered from cancerous growths on her body. Then the last week of her life these growths grew in her mouth. Due to her deteriorating condition, we chose euthanasia for our beloved Katie.

Because of Trent’s love for her, I was deeply concerned how he would respond to Katie no longer being with us. We believed it was important to help him understand and self express his emotions, thus, to appreciate the love he had for her.

Emotions drive everything we do. It is human nature to have emotions, but to recognize them, and to manage them to move through difficulties is the essence of adaptation. It was my intention to help promote Trent’s response to losing Katie and to gain emotional adaptation through this tragic event. In contrast, if we did not bring attention to his emotions, I believe it would only make it worse overtime.

By facing the loss head on, these initiated actions enabled all of us in the family to manage our own grief and emotions. Equally important, these actions helped to enable Trent’s ability to self express and grieve in his own way over Katie.

Seven Actions:

1. We involved Trent in the goodbye process. The morning before we took Katie to the veterinarian, I brought Katie to Trent’s house so he could see and pet her one last time. I took pictures of him with her so he would later see the photo of saying his goodbyes.

2. We openly showed our own emotions for Katie. My emotions were raw and deep. I knew it was important to honor my own emotions I had for Katie, for my own well-being, and to help Trent.

3. The day after she died, Trent and I wrote a story together about Katie. We wrote about all the good times, the special food she liked, the walks and the playtime Katie loved. Our story was about acknowledging Katie’s personality and the love she shared with us.

4. We created a legacy. We found ways that Trent could remember the moments he had with Katie. It was important that Trent remember all the good times with Katie and his love for her. Although he has difficulty expressing his emotions and because of his limited expressive language, we chose images to make a video that would enable his ability to self express.

5. I searched my computer files for photos of Katie. We selected photos of Katie throughout years. We placed them in a special scrap book to be placed on the coffee table in Trent’s house. The book will be a beautiful reminder of the times we all shared life with Katie.

6. I made a video about Katie for beautiful memories. We used photos from the past and photos of the last 36 hours that Katie lived.

7. For our last day with her, we celebrated Katie and treated her to an ice cream party with her best pet friend Daisy Mae. Katie also enjoyed her last sausage, egg, and gravy breakfast. We all enjoyed a day of just holding and petting her.

During stressful times or events of loss, we all need emotional supports. These actions helped us with our loss. Yet, Trent relied upon us to offer activities to manage his emotions of losing Katie and honoring Katie’s presence in his life.

Individuals with ASD need emotional supports, especially when they have difficulty understanding the loss or in verbally expressing their emotions about their loss. The more we help individuals of all ages with autism recognize emotions and self express their feelings of loss, the greater emotional adaptation and growth can occur. Honoring emotions enhances well-being.

Our video, A Celebration of Katie’.

Jackie M. Marquette, Ph.D.

Blog: Twenty-five Effective Career Preparations that Promote Autism Spectrum Employment

Twenty-Five Effective Career Preparations that Promote Autism Spectrum Employment

Reprinted by permission from Different Brains.